If you’re going to recruit the right talent, sourcing tools can be a blessing. Because what’s “right” for any given company really depends on a variety of different factors, like your work culture, how established the company is, and your goals and long-term vision.
Sourcing tools help you narrow down the search and connect with talent that’s best suited to your company’s unique needs. Looking for top start-up talent? There’s a sourcing tool for that. Need to connect with a pool of qualified remote workers? There’s a tool for that, too.
We’ve shortlisted 12 sourcing tools (plus a bonus tool) to help you plan your sourcing strategy and find your dream talent. Now, over to you!
In a hurry? Here are the 12 best sourcing tools for recruiters
For the planning stage:
- Textio: Stop unconscious bias from seeping into job ads and your messaging.
- Mural: Brainstorm your ideal talent persona, collaborate with teams, and plan out applicant journeys.
- LinkedIn: Doesn’t really need an introduction—it’s great for getting the lay of the land.
For the talent sourcing stage:
- LinkedIn and LinkedIn Business tools: Find your ideal talent with powerful filters. (P.S. LinkedIn Sales Nav can be surprisingly more economical than LinkedIn Recruiter.)
- Hired: Spend less time searching for your ideal talent with Hired’s vetted database of top tech and sales talent.
- Sourcing.io: Tap into your and your team’s networks to find top engineering talent.
- WeWorkRemotely: Hire top remote talent in the largest community for remote work.
- Wellfound: Connect with the best start-up talent and learn about their expectations.
- HireEZ: (Yes, that’s a pun.) This sourcing tool is made by recruiters, for recruiters. It uses AI to help you source diverse, hard-to-find talent.
For reaching out to talent:
- LinkedIn InMail: Because mentioning LinkedIn twice wasn’t enough. But seriously, InMails are great for outreach.
- Gem: Build a dynamic database (phone numbers and emails) of active and passive talent. Automate your outreach and follow-ups.
- Magical: Send personalized messages at scale in record time.
Bonus—launch an employee referral program:
- EmployeeReferrals: The name isn’t creative, but the product sure is. Manage your employee referral program from end to end with one of the best sourcing tools for recruiters. (You can white-label it, too.)
What are the best sourcing tools for recruiters? 12 top-rated picks (plus, one extra)
Yes, that’s a total of 13. But the last one is in its own category, so we’re giving it a special mention.
For the planning stage
Make sure you plan your sourcing strategy right with these three helpful tools.
Writing job descriptions is a key part of attracting the right talent. Good job descriptions clearly detail the role’s requirements, the expectations you have of applicants, the required skills and experience, and the method of applying. They also use language that speaks to your ideal talent and communicates your value proposition.
Unfortunately, unconscious biases can creep into different parts of the recruiting process, discouraging some applicants from applying. Textio is a great tool to help you out. It detects even the subtlest hints of discrimination from job ads, helping you craft one that doesn’t discourage anyone from applying.
Simply put your job description or ad into the tool, and it’ll flag discriminatory words to help you make the listing more inclusive.
Mural calls itself a “collaborative intelligence company,” and it’s a pretty apt description. It’s an excellent tool for brainstorming, mapping out ideas, and understanding complex user journeys—as a team.
Mural comes with dozens of pre-built templates to help you get started, and in general, the templates are geared toward marketing, research, and product teams. But there’s a good overlap between these use cases and recruiting needs. The “persona profile” template, for example, is great for brainstorming your ideal talent persona.
Hiring teams can use Mural to map out the journeys of applicants, brainstorm talent personas, plan outreach strategies, and more. The free plan lets you create three murals—the platform’s boards—and supports collaboration with unlimited members.
LinkedIn doesn’t really need an introduction, but let’s discuss why it’s so useful for the planning stage of any recruitment process. LinkedIn is dedicated to networking, hunting for jobs, and employing top talent—making it the perfect ground for assessing the labor market and understanding what job seekers are looking for. Plus, you’ll also get an idea of what other employers are offering them.
While you’re planning out your sourcing strategy, LinkedIn is a great platform to search. Use the job search feature to look for similar ads, and use the people search feature to find people in similar roles or fields.
For the talent sourcing stage
In this stage, you’ll need tools to increase your footprint and reach the right talent. Fortunately, there are loads of platforms to help you out here. Depending on your needs, some tools are better than others.
4. LinkedIn and LinkedIn Business tools (Sales Navigator, Recruiter)
We already covered how LinkedIn is useful for planning your sourcing strategy, but it’s also great for posting (and promoting) job ads to reach your ideal talent. You can also use it to hunt down potential candidates and reach out to them directly—LinkedIn’s business tools, Sales Navigator and Recruiter, are useful here.
Sales Navigator is designed for marketing and sales teams—it lets you use 29 filters to identify and reach out to potential leads. These filters can also be used to find applicants that fit your ideal talent persona. But, as you’d expect from the name, LinkedIn Recruiter is designed for recruiters—so why are we mentioning Sales Navigator?
Well, because of the price differences. Recruiter has two price tiers—Recruiter Lite costs $179/month, and the Recruiter plan costs a whopping $835/month. In comparison, Sales Navigator starts at $99/month.
Now, while Sales Navigator’s $99/month plan lets you reach out to third degree connections, Recruiter Lite doesn’t. And Recruiter Lite offers 30 InMail messages/month (i.e., premium messages that don’t require you to connect to the receiver), whereas Sales Navigator (all plans) offers 50 InMail messages/month.
So, for simple talent sourcing needs, Sales Navigator can actually be more economical, although Recruiter and Recruiter Lite have some exclusive features that are worth checking out. It’s a good idea to vet each product, and their respective plans, before making a final decision.
Hired has done a really nice job of adding value to both ends of the spectrum—for employers and employees alike. The platform connects employers with top tech and sales talent, vetted by Hired’s algorithms and skills assessment tests. It also lets employers view an applicant’s “wish list,” such as their work preferences, and their salary expectations.
The result? You spend less time searching for best-fit talent. With Hired, you can identify candidates not only with the right skills, but also those who have similar salaries and work expectations. This also saves job seekers a lot of time, as they’re approached by potential employers who are already aware of their preferences.
Sourcing.io is a candidate sourcing tool that helps recruiters tap into their existing network to source engineering talent. The platform has indexed millions of engineers, and it aims to connect you with engineers and programmers that have interacted with your team on social channels, like GitHub and Twitter.
Sourcing doesn’t just aggregate public information, but its algorithms also compile the data to give you a comprehensive, holistic overview of the best engineering talent. You can try the tool out for free for seven days, and the monthly plan costs $199/user (with discounts on annual billing).
This sourcing tool’s name is a dead giveaway—it’s a platform for recruiting remote talent. The platform claims to be the largest remote work forum in the world, with over 4.5 million visitors. And according to WeWorkRemotely (WWR), it fills 90% of open roles. 😮
WWR lets you post full-time, part-time, and contract-based jobs. It also provides remote hiring guides and job description templates to help you get started, and offers bundle discounts for multiple job listings. If you’re looking to hire remote talent, this platform is definitely worth checking out.
Wellfound (formerly AngelList Talent) is the platform to recruit talent for start-ups. The company has been around since 2013 and currently connects employers with over 8 million applicants. It also throws in some nifty free tools and features, including a free applicant tracking system (ATS), company branding setup, and HR tools.
Wellfound also has an added service, Curated, which vets qualified, interview-ready applicants and sends them your way, updating you twice a week. The team has also recently included international remote talent in the mix.
HireEZ (formerly HireTual) is an end-to-end recruiting platform that helps you speed up recruiting tasks that require a lot of legwork. The platform connects with your existing channels—including your ATS, job boards, and resume databases—allowing you to manage your sourcing in one central platform.
HireEZ’s sourcing strategy focuses on outbound sourcing; it sources talent from over 45 open web platforms, and uses AI to zero in on hard-to-find, diverse talent. It’s focused on helping you find the right talent—and hidden gems.
Beyond sourcing talent, HireEZ also helps you find potential talent's contact details and engage them, use data and benchmarking to vet your recruiting initiatives, collaborate with team members, and enrich the data of your ATS. It’s much more than a sourcing tool.
For reaching out to talent
After you’ve identified the right talent, it’s time to reach out to them. Many of the platforms we’ve listed in the previous section let you reach out to candidates through the apps. But if you found talent through LinkedIn or databases, here are some good tools for outreach.
10. LinkedIn InMail
LinkedIn InMail is a premium LinkedIn feature that comes with a premium subscription, or business tools like Recruiter and Sales Navigator. InMail lets you bypass the “connection” requirement to message people (you know the drill… send them a connection request, spend a good five minutes wondering what “personal note” to add… then finally get to the point), and just get down to business quicker.
If you’re not interested in using one of the Recruiter or Sales Navigator plans, you can still use InMail by subscribing to LinkedIn Premium.
Gem is an all-in-one recruiting platform that’s used by sales pros and recruiters. You can use it to nurture relationships and build a database of talent pools that automatically update based on how warm each candidate is. Even better? Many hiring teams use Gem to automate outreach via email, text, LinkedIn, or Indeed. (It’s like setting up a drip email campaign for your hiring process.)
Unfortunately, all that feature functionality is going to cost you. Gem can cost upwards of $4,000 per user per year.
Magical is a task automation software that covers quite a few fronts. It can help you fill out forms, update your ATS, and automate your outreach activities. The tool’s text expander lets you save custom templates, with variables like “CandidateName” or “position,” so you can personalize your message to a recipient.
Since Magical is a no-code tool that works where you do (no integrations needed), it saves recruiters a lot of time when they’re reaching out to applicants. With a couple of keystrokes, you can craft and send personalized messages to dozens of candidates.
Bonus: for an employee referral program
An employee referral program can be a great way to source top, best-fit talent. Here’s a great tool to help you kick your referral program off the ground.
This tool’s name also perfectly describes its function. EmployeeReferrals is an end-to-end solution that lets you set up company branding, white-label your referral program, and give employees the opportunity to endorse and refer friends. It also offers tons of other features besides. We’re talking training videos, campaign planning, gamification, candidate engagement insights, and more.
If you’re serious about establishing a referral program for sourcing talent, this is one of the most comprehensive tools you’ll find to help out.
Ready to source your ideal talent?
Remote work taught us that many companies can survive, and thrive, without offices. But you know what they can’t survive without? Talent.
Finding the right talent is key to building and maintaining great businesses. So talent sourcing is an area that deserves lots of planning and attention. And while sourcing tools can save you loads of time, and connect you with great talent, linking the tools you use with your strategy will ultimately determine how successful your recruiting efforts are.
But the rewards are worth it. There’s really nothing like helping a person find their dream job, while simultaneously helping a company source their ideal hire.
Frequently asked questions
1. What are sourcing strategies?
Sourcing strategies are different tactics used to source talent. Launching an employee referral program is one strategy, and directly reaching out to talent on social media is another.
2. What is the best sourcing platform?
There isn’t a dedicated “best” sourcing platform—the right one for you depends on your hiring needs. For example, AngelList is great for finding start-up talent, Sourcing.io is perfect for recruiting top engineering talent, and WWR forces on sourcing the best remote talent.
3. What are tools you use for passive sourcing?
Passive sourcing entails reaching out to people who aren’t actively searching for a job yet. So, the most effective tools for passive sourcing are networking with people and building relationships with them. LinkedIn is a great platform for this purpose.